Fall Activities to Fall In Love With

Most of us love a good transformation story. The Beauty and the Beast, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Joan of Arc — just to name a few. Fall is a metamorphosis of sorts, as the colors within our view begin to change and cooler air starts to dance across our necks, reminding us to pull out our fuzzy scarves and warmer coats. I don’t think it’s a coincidence so many of us get a little sentimental and hopeful around this time of year. It is easy to identify with the transformational phoenix — a symbol of strength and renewal. Even its plumage is similar to the brilliance of fall having colors corresponding to fire: yellow, orange, red, and gold. In a sense we can see the wondrous changes around us, easily desiring the season of harvest to be an allegory for our lives. In the spirit of this enchanting, changing and bountiful season, grab that pumpkin spice latte with extra whipped cream (along with the 350 million sold as of August 2018!) and let’s use the extra hour most of us have exploring some seasonal travel favorites.

Photo courtesy of the LA Coffee Festival.

The Los Angeles Coffee Festival

NOVEMBER 9–11 2018 |

MAGIC BOX @ THE REEF, LA.

1933 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90007

Speaking of that Pumpkin Spice Latte … the first ever Los Angeles Coffee Festival is coming to DTLA, from November 9–11 2018. If you love coffee, food, live music, art and helping people — this is the place for you!

This event is for the coffee connoisseur of all kinds with world-class baristas and mixologists joining together to guarantee your taste buds join in on the holidays, as well as witness some delightful and educational new ways to combine a variety of ingredients.

Coffee Mixologists will also continue an ongoing competition, which debuted in Amsterdam in 2016 by hosting Latte Art Live every evening. There will be hands-on workshops and demonstrations from the pros. No, really — at The New York and London Coffee Festivals, the likes of Dritan Alsela, Dhan Tamang, the UK Latte Art Champion since 2013, Lem Butler, 2016 USBC Champion, and Luke Shilling, Australian Latte Art Finalist, just to name a few who will be in attendance!

Not that you need one more reason to be convinced, but you have absolutely no reason to miss this stupendous event if you are in the area because by purchasing your ticket you will also be supporting a priceless cause.

“10% of ticket sales are donated to Project Waterfall, to support life-changing water projects in coffee growing regions. Since 2011, Project Waterfall has raised over $1 million, bringing clean water to more than 25,000 people in coffee growing communities across 7 countries.”
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC

It doesn’t get much more nostalgic for Thanksgiving than waking up first thing in the morning and either tuning into or attending (preferable) the Macy’s Parade. The tradition of the parade started in 1924 and was first televised in 1939 on NBC’s W2XBS. It now has approximately 3.5 million spectators lining the parade route from W. 77th St. to 34th St. and an estimated 50 million tuning in on TV (officially on NBC since 1952). Seeing a 2.5 mile long route of over 1,000 clowns (no villainous clowns allowed here, thank you!), 26 balloons (ranging in size from 30 feet tall and 20 feet wide to 60 feet tall and 32 feet wide), 31 floats, 20 performers (such as John Legend, Pentatonix and Sugarland), marching bands and performance groups is a magnificent day of sights, sounds and enjoyable memories. All in all there are over 8,000 participants!

This year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be held on Thursday, November 22nd from 9AM — NOON ET. Early risers camp out starting at 6AM on the west side of Central Park West from West 75th to West 59th Streets. Great views can be found along this stretch. Get a sneak peak at the Giant Balloons as they come to life on Thanksgiving Eve: Thursday, November 21st from 1PM-8PM ET.

Please call YAI National Institute at 212–273–6181 or visit their website for more information to access for spectators with special needs.

Weather can be unpredictable so dress in layers, wear comfy shoes and bring a poncho or raincoat. Also, please be forewarned umbrellas, backpacks, large bags, alcoholic beverages, drones and e-cigarettes are absolutely prohibited and no personal property can be left or abandoned at the entrance or checkpoints.

For all other questions and inquiries, please contact mevents@macys.com or explore their website.

Photo courtesy of Linville Land Harbor.

Appalachia & the Blue Ridge Mountains

It’s very typical for most people to think New England for the fall, which is all well and good. However, I am going to ask you to stretch your thinking for a bit and have you consider the Appalachian region as a new inspirational wonderland. If the vibrant colors of fall are your thing you won’t want to miss out on the miles and miles of gorgeous scenery of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

According to the visitor website: “the Blue Ridge Parkway is a ribbon of road that weaves through the region’s vibrant living traditions. From Cherokee life and agricultural history to Southern Appalachian crafts and music, the Parkway’s 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina offer many ways to explore rich traditions.”

Along the Parkway you will also find some of the oldest mountains in the world, Mount Mitchell — the highest mountain peak in the eastern United States, New River — the oldest river in North America, Linville Gorge — the deepest gorge east of the Grand Canyon, Whitewater Falls — the highest waterfall east of the Rockies and Abundant biodiversity.

The High Country is filled with many other breathtaking attractions such as — Grandfather Mountain, Linville Falls and the Appalachian Trail. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a marvelous tour guide to these treasures, but do not be fooled. The Blue Ridge Parkway has been nicknamed “America’s favorite drive” for its ability to entertain all on its own.

Picture courtesy of About You Magazine.

Affordable Travel

Despite some conventional thought regarding November being a holiday month and therefore being too expensive to travel, there are actually some really irresistible deals during this golden season. Think about it, the kids are back in school, most of the big vacation crowds have gone back to work and the air is vibrant, crisp and yummy! What better time to get out and visit our beautiful country. Who knows, maybe you will even get a little adventurous and decide to do something a little more unconventional to scour the beauty of the scarlet landscape such as a helicopter, train, horseback or balloon ride. There are countless possibilities!

Here are some popular domestic destinations under $500 plus cheapest fall weekends to get there from Kayak: https://www.kayak.com/news/fall-travel-guide-2018/

Picture courtesy of CountryLiving.

So, in truth, what is the story with all that pumpkin spice anyway? Did you know Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) even has its own verified Twitter (established in 2014) feed?

Here is a minute list of Pumpkin Spice products on the market right now: Pumpkin Spice Frosted Flakes, Pumpkin Spice Noosa, GODIVA Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Spice G Cubes, Pumpkin Spice Cold Brew Coffee Bites, Greenies Dog Dental Treats Pumpkin Spice, Snyder’s Pretzel Pieces Pumpkin Spice. The list, quite honestly, is countless and somewhat lending itself to the bizarre at times.

What was it that stoked the brilliance of the powers that be at Starbuck’s to come up with the idea to infuse a cup of coffee with the flavor of pumpkin to begin with? As much as each of us would want to know and emulate their success, we may just have to marvel at the fact and realize they penetrated our baser instincts by using a symbol of one of the most aged and domesticated plant in American culture. When the crops they brought from Europe failed, pumpkins helped sustain the colonists. The pumpkin and its relation to our symbolism of the comfortable family life are romantic and long. We love to litter our porches, homes and offices with decorated balls of orange and gourds. It’s no wonder we feel just a little more inspirational with a little pumpkin spice added to our days. Well played Starbucks, well played.